Create Multiple Products from a Sermon

urlYou can take a powerful sermon, church pageant or any other film-worthy event from your church and create four different products which you can sell online and in your church bookstore to bring in revenue. Here's what you'll need: • A computer, preferably a Mac; • iTunes media software; • A good video camera with microphone; • ImTOO Video Converter standard video conversion software (available at; • A Google Docs account, or Adobe Acrobat full version plus MS Word; • A PayPal business account.

Film the Event Use a good quality video camera with a microphone attachment to film the sermon or other event. This can be as easy and inexpensive as a Flip camera with a wireless lapel microphone, or a high quality digital camera with a microphone attachment. In any event, you want to make sure you pick up the audio as well as the video.

Convert the Video to a CD and MP3 These are the first two products you will create. Import your video into the ImTOO software and convert it to an MP3 file, which you can sell in your online store as a digital download. Then import the MP3 into iTunes and burn it to a CD. Put the CD in a clear plastic case and sell it at your church bookstore as well as in your online store. You can even make a label for the CD case using a picture taken from the original video.

Convert the Video to a DVD and MP4 Your original video should already be in MP4 format from your camera, but if not, convert it to MP4 in your ImTOO software. Good specs to use are video size 640 x 480, bitrate 1200kbps, max bitrate 2500kbps, audio bitrate 64kbps and sample rate 48000hz. This MP4 file can then be placed for sale as a download from your online store.

Next, download ImTOO DVD Creator or Nero Suite, and use this software to turn your MP4 file into DVD format, which you can burn onto DVDs to be offered for sale in your church bookstore and online store.

Use YouTube to Advertise your Videos Consider putting one or more of your MP4 sermon files on YouTube with a link to your online store. This will help generate an appetite for more videos and bring in customers to your store, and ultimately to your church as well.

For more information on this and other topics, get your copy of "The iChurch Method Volume 1: How to Advance Your Ministry Online." or The iChurch Method Volume 2: Changing the World When You Login or even sign up for the iChurch Method Online School.

The iChurch Method TV - Why I wrote The iChurch Method

I wrote the book for a few reasons. One, because I wanted to get the information and knowledge that God had put inside of me out to the masses. I work for large churches; they have large budgets and great resources and stuff like that, but smaller churches may not have the resources or the expertise to hire a Jason Caston, so I wanted them to be able to have access to the information and knowledge that I had. I wanted to put these resources into a book format that they could get access to.

The book, for a low cost of an average book, $9.99 and $19.99 or something like that, you can buy the book and see the approaches that I took with these large churches. Now, when you see it happening with these large churches you may think it’s costing $10,000 dollars, $20,000 dollars, $100,000 dollars just because you think that church has that budget. In actuality it’s costing $100, $500, maybe $1000 dollars, and that’s well within the reach of a small church. So, I wanted them to be able to have access to that.

Literally the iChurch Method, the book, is a brain dump of what I do in a typical week working with these ministries. I don’t want people to think the book was something that’s not actually going on right now in real time. It’s not old technology; it’s real technology that’s current and going on right now. I wanted them to be able to have access to that.

I also wanted them to have access and reach people the same way large churches are doing it because when it comes to a website it doesn’t matter if you have a bible study in your living room or a small storefront church or a large mega church. The technology that you have access to is all the same, so you just need to have the resources and the knowledge and expertise on how to utilize it, and that’s what I put in that book.

After looking at the book, the next step is to figure out how you want to approach it. The book was written twofold. The first half of every chapter is written with a strategical perspective, so that’s for the decision makers or the pastors or the leadership to be able to make a well informed decision about what they want to do with the technology that was presented.

So, if a pastor reads the first chapter which is about websites, the first half of it is about the strategy of websites and why are we using them and what technology is being introduced to provide that solution, that way the pastor or leadership can have a well informed discussion with the technical person that may actually implement the solution. The pastor is well informed enough to have a conversation so that the technical person is not able to take advantage of them. That was another aspect of me writing the book was to empower leadership and pastors and the people of the smaller churches to have the knowledge to not let companies take advantage of them that are maybe out to just try and make a profit off of the church. I don’t want that to occur.

The next step is to figure out, from a strategical perspective, if you want somebody else to implement it for you. If so, then you can take this book, know exactly how you want to implement it, hand it to them and say, “Look, I want you to do what’s in chapter one, do what’s in chapter three, not so much chapter two; we’ll get to that later, and do what’s in chapter four. I read the book, so I know what’s in it and I just want you to implement the solutions that I’ve seen.” I think that would be the best approach for that. Now, there’s another aspect to it if you have a pastor that’s tech savvy. Some pastors I’ve worked with have wanted to implement it themselves. So, the second half of every chapter is a technical section where I’ve actually given code snippets or I give screenshots of walkthroughs of how to implement and set up Facebook fan pages, how to set up podcasts or how to load up videos on and stuff like that.

If you want to get hands-on and roll up your sleeves and actually do it, then I provide solutions for that as well and examples on how to do that. If people want to do it themselves, they can; otherwise they can hand it off to someone who can do it for them and they know exactly what it is they want done.

The last week of April 2013, maybe early May 2013, I’m going to release Volume Two of the iChurch Method. Volume One that I released was called How to Advance Your Ministry Online. That was just the introduction as far as me showing people how to utilize the technology and advance your ministry online starting from nothing.

With Volume Two, Changing the World When You Log In, is taking what was introduced in Volume One to another level. For example, in Volume One we talk about how to get your website up, what content management systems to use. In Volume Two we’re talking about taking that website that’s already implemented to another level using technology such as the parallax, responsive design, and stuff like that. We just want to keep taking things to the next level.

A good example is in chapter two. In Volume One we talk about multimedia, podcasting, online video, online streaming. In Volume Two in the multimedia section we’re talking about creating an entire internet church campus. Now I felt like I had to wait to give people information on how to implement an internet church campus because I wanted them to first have a website before they tried to jump up and try to create an entire internet church campus.

Once you start putting all these multimedia aspects together and these interactive aspects together, you can start creating that internet church campus, and that’s what I want to start guiding people towards with that. Of course with social media, the next level of that is we’ve seen Facebook bought Instagram, we’ve seen Pinterest really take off, and we’ve seen this visual social media really take off based more around video and pictures and stuff like that and I want to educate and inform people on how to utilize that.

Of course in mobile, mobile websites are really the initial step of getting a church or ministry online, but now let’s talk about mobile apps and how to take that to another level. Let’s talk about tablets and how to best utilize those and implement and integrate those into the church.

For more information on this and other topics, get your copy of “The iChurch Method Volume 1: How to Advance Your Ministry Online.” or The iChurch Method Volume 2: Changing the World When You Login or even sign up for the iChurch Method Online School.

The iChurch Method - Vol. 1 and Vol. 2

Since I have released The iChurch Method Vol. 2, I have been getting the same question, what’s the difference between the two books? And, which one should you buy?

First and foremost, the two books is that they are continuations of each other. They both focus on the five areas of The iChurch Method, which is websites, multimedia, eCommerce, social media and mobile. The difference between them is that vol. 1, How to Advance Your Ministry Online is the basics of The iChurch Method and vol. 2, Changing the World When You Login, is the advanced version of The iChurch Method.


Here is a breakdown

Vol. 1 - How to Advance Your Ministry Online


  • Objectives of a Website
  • Using a CMS (Content Mgmt System)
  • Website Layout

  • Multimedia

  • Podcasting
  • Live Streaming for FREE
  • Archived Video
  • Adding media to websites

  • eCommerce

  • Basic Online giving setup
  • Basic Online store setup

  • Social Media

  • Social Media Strategy - Part 1
  • Sharing content from website
  • Facebook/Twitter basics

  • Mobile

  • Mobile Websites
  • Vol. 2 - Changing the World When You Login

  • Advanced websites with Responsive design.
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Analytics

  • Multimedia

  • Internet Church Campus
  • Google Hangouts

  • eCommerce

  • Online giving forms
  • Offline Commerce

  • Social Media

  • Social Media Strategy - Part 2
  • Visual Social Media
  • Mobile Social Media

  • Mobile

  • Mobile Apps

  • The reason I have two books is that technology is always evolving and changing, therefore in order for organizations to keep up, they need books and trainings that are always evolving and changing. I will continue to publish The iChurch Method volumes as long as necessary to keep ministries updated on current technologies.

    How to Quickly Analyze and Optimize Your Website

    Screen Shot 2013-02-24 at 2.51.10 AM Here are a few key tips to analyze and optimize your website...

    Measure and Compare How many visitors does your website receive each day? Which pages do they visit? How long do they stay? Web analytics answers these questions. It is like having someone tell you how close your ball is on the green after you have hit it from the fairway. With information from web analytics, you can make adjustments on your site and improve the user's experience. Web analytics can be obtained for free by using software such as Google Analytics (

    Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Once you have your website up and running, there are two ways users can find you: knowledge and search. Knowledge happens several ways. The user may come to your church and receive literature with your website on it. Later, they access the site and begin exploring. As I hopefully hammered home above, social media is a big way users find your church. When their friend shares something and links your church, the user now knows about it. Knowledge of your church is great but the best way to reach folks who don’t know you exist or have friends who don’t know you exist is through search. When I type “Nondenominational Church in Dallas” in the Google search bar, The Potters House church pulls up twice. If I was looking for a church, I have a 20% chance of checking out their website. Another example is “divorce recovery in Dallas.” Both Watermark Community Church and Fellowship Church show up in the front page. So how did these churches land there? SEO.

    SEO is a strategy that you can implement to bring your site up to the first page of key searches. It uses a combination of key words on your site and in your content and linking of your site to other sites. No one knows the exact mathematical formula for how Google, Bing and Yahoo! rank each site but programmers who specialize in SEO know how to increase the visibility of your website and get it up in rankings. And the higher it goes, the more traffic your website gets.

    For more information on this and other topics, get your copy of "The iChurch Method Volume 1: How to Advance Your Ministry Online." or The iChurch Method Volume 2: Changing the World When You Login or even sign up for the iChurch Method Online School.

    The iChurch Method TV - Ep. 12 - Developing Online Content Strategies

    Continuing The iChurch Method TV series, I was asked a question about helping a church develop online content strategies. Here is the transcript of the video above:

    First I would ask them what you consider an ideal membership for you right now. If you’re trying to get a million members for your church then we can look at that. If you just want 1000 people and that’s as many as you feel you can handle then we can look at that as well.

    Once we establish that then we start looking at the content that the ministry is putting out; how often are you preaching, what other content do you have such as announcements, what other leadership in your ministry is pushing out content. We start gathering all that content together. Once we look at all the content that the ministry is putting out, then we start figuring out how we can distribute it—whether it be social media—we look at the website and what information is on there, and we just start looking at how many different ways we can distribute that information. Continuing with that, we look at multimedia because we want to look at the online video aspect. Do you want to have live online streaming services or would you rather just record your services and archive it and let people watch it later? We ask those questions.

    Then we look at online donations; is that something that you want to do. With the content that we were looking at before, do you have enough to start creating digital products? You may not have the resources to create DVDs and CDs but you can create digital products if we’re recording the sermons.

    Then we look at, again, social media; is your church ready for that and do you have the resources. I’m not trying to put everything on the pastor. The pastor is gifted at ministering to the people and preaching to the people, so I’m not trying to make the pastor “Mr. Everything” for the church. So, do you have the resources and possibly volunteers to utilize social media? Maybe some young people that are very enthusiastic about it and that are also very enthusiastic about your ministry.

    Finally with mobile, I want to help them understand that aspect. When I tell them about just anything with digital ministry they immediately think computer ministry, but I’m trying to help them understand it’s internet ministry, online ministry, so you have to include mobile devices, tablets, and anything that’s going to be internet enabled well into the future. We’re getting into the era of the Jetsons now, so people have to understand, and churches have to understand, that everything is going to be internet enabled.

    For more information on this and other topics, get your copy of “The iChurch Method Volume 1: How to Advance Your Ministry Online.” or The iChurch Method Volume 2: Changing the World When You Login or even sign up for the iChurch Method Online School.

    The iChurch Method TV - Ep 15 - Ministry Growth Online

    Continuing The iChurch Method TV series about ministry growth online, here's the transcript from the video above.

    I would tell a minister that basically you could continue to do ministry as you do it for your local and regional reach. Continue to push out the content that you already are; preaching your sermons and ministering the people in the way that you do. But, understand that now it’s going to be packaged and distributed to an international audience.

    I’m not trying to tell them to change the way that they do ministry, I’m just letting them know that I’m giving you a larger distribution of the content and of the ministry and taking the gospel to the four corners of the earth.

    For more information on this and other topics, get your copy of “The iChurch Method Volume 1: How to Advance Your Ministry Online.” or The iChurch Method Volume 2: Changing the World When You Login or even sign up for the iChurch Method Online School.

    Join Me at #iMinistry2013 [Updated]

    slide_image1-43b987d43c UPDATE: There are two major updates that have occurred since I first published this blog back in September 2013. First and foremost, I will be speaking at the conference on Wednesday, Oct 16 during the Social Media and Online Advertising sessions. Second, the conference will be streaming live at starting at 1pm CST on Tuesday, Oct 15. These two great new happenings have made me even more excited about the conference and look forward to you joining me there or online!! (follow the conversation on social media as well using #iministry2013

    Original Post below Last year I was searching for any conferences that incorporated Church and Technology. For some reason, there weren't many (Biola Digital Ministry Conference, iMinistry Conference, TDJ Pastors and Leadership Conference, Echo Conference, Christian Leadership Alliance Conference) and it seems that the church continues to show a blind eye to the advancements in technology and how the church can use technology to reach the masses. But in late August, I found out about the inaugural iMinistry Conference, so I figured I would check it out and I was amazed.

    Now, let me preface these next lines by saying, it takes a lot for a conference to impress me, not because it has to be a grand production, but because I am very good at what I do so I need to see quality content being taught in addition to people who are very good at what they are teaching. This was definitely the case at iMinistry Conference, people such as Seth Farrior, Nils Smith (who seems to think just like me, we must be twins), Jason Morris, Jan Touchberry, Nate Merril and a score of others. Many of these aforementioned people I connect with on Facebook/Twitter daily and in the case of Nils, have even traveled with.

    This year they are continuing to teach a variety of topics such as Social Media for Ministry (a panel that I will be participating in), Online Church Campuses, Connecting with users online for ministry and much much more. I enjoy a conference like this because in addition to learning from these very gifted and talented individuals, I enjoy the camaraderie of being around like minds and people with visions to reach the world online for the kingdom.

    You should join us this year, register today and get $50 off using the discount code FACEBOOK.

    Objectives of an Effective Church Website

    Screen Shot 2013-02-24 at 3.05.57 AMWhen designing a website for your church or ministry, you should start with your basic objectives. Ask yourself some hard questions, and take copious notes. What do you hope to accomplish with your website? Who is your target audience? With some exceptions, a church's website has three basic objectives: • To assist those who are looking for a church to attend, whether in person or online; • To keep members up to date on current events, church activities and so forth; • To provide spiritual content to help members grow in their faith.

    Depending on your ministry, you may have slightly different objectives. Consider how the ones listed above apply to your own ministry, and write down different ones if need be. You will want to refer back to this in designing your website.

    Website Design Criteria

    Next you should consider some basic design criteria. This applies to all websites, whether for a church, a business or any other venture. Unfortunately, too many people disregard these factors and create websites that are entirely too busy, cluttered and difficult to use. If your website is not visually pleasing, easy to navigate and above all, useful and informative, potential visitors will leave and not return.

    Build your website following these five design criteria, and you will have an electronic showplace that invites visitors to come on in and stay awhile:

    • Clean and uncluttered. You should have a good mix of content and imagery, easy to read navigation buttons and one or two eye-catching banners to achieve just the right balance between simplicity and variety of content and options; • Informative and full of helpful content; • Interactive, causing the user to engage with the website; • Interesting and engaging; • Provide solutions, through content, multimedia and/or products.

    Keep in mind that even though you are a spiritual organization, your basic goals are not altogether different than that of a business; you want to sell your product, to bring in customers, and grow your business. Your website needs to be fresh, informative, and provide some sort of take away value in order to attract visitors. That takes us back to your three main objectives.

    If your website provides information about worship services, it is providing a useful service and will attract visitors who are looking for this information. If your website provides information about church activities, it will attract visitors who are already members of your congregation, who are looking for schedules, times and dates.

    Finally, if your website is rich in spiritual content, it will bring in visitors who may not yet be members of your congregation but are searching for guidance. Consider posting videos of services or particularly engaging portions of sermons, written transcripts of sermons, helpful advice columns and evangelical blogs, to give visitors a real taste of your ministry.

    For more information on this and other topics, get your copy of "The iChurch Method Volume 1: How to Advance Your Ministry Online." or The iChurch Method Volume 2: Changing the World When You Login or even sign up for the iChurch Method Online School.

    How I got involved in working with Ministries

    Continuing The iChurch Method TV series, here's the transcript from the video above.

    The first ministry that gave me the opportunity to work with them was Crenshaw Christian Center out in Los Angeles. When I got there in 2007 they were utilizing technology as best they could. The people they had on staff were working on some great technological things but they just didn’t know how to utilize the internet as best as it could be used at the time.

    What I was able to do was come in and look at what they had going on and start looking at how they could do it better. Coming to a large ministry—from the outside looking in— you think that they know everything; they have everything going on. What I was able to see was how I was able to utilize my skill set and actually make an impact instead of just coming in and being a cog in the wheel.

    With that ministry I was able to start working on developing solutions for their websites and multimedia, eCommerce, social media, and stuff like that, and see how it actually transformed the ministry because it was able to bring those aspects to the ministry in a way that they weren’t using them before.

    Likewise, when I was working with TD Jakes Ministries and went out there—even starting back to when I came in for the interview—they asked me what I could bring to the ministry. I gave them five areas; I said, “I can help you out with your websites, multimedia, eCommerce, social media, and mobile.” Subsequently those five topics became the chapters in the book I wrote, The iChurch Method.

    What really helped me out with these ministries is seeing the things that I was bringing to the ministry, actually seeing the impact of them and how people were able to interact more with the ministry via technology. But, I also see that even as large as these ministries were and the great impact that they already had from me watching them from afar all these years, I saw that something that God put in me was actually able to help them at a time such as now.

    It was two-fold. First let’s go back to Crenshaw Christian Center. Starting with them I was a one-man department. Basically I was hired to revamp the entire web presence. Everything that was going on on the internet that you see such as the social media aspect of it, the mobile, the website, I was a one-man department. I had a graphic person that worked with me but any internet solutions, whatever I came up with, was the solution they went with.

    I worked very closely with the pastor. He was a young guy like myself, early 30s, so we had a good idea what we wanted to do in terms of technology and he would give me his ideas and I would make them happen in terms of technology.

    On the other side of that, with T.D. Jakes Ministries, it was a much larger environment. I was a part of a team. I came in and initially they wanted me to work specifically just on websites but then when I started telling them the other expertise that I had, which was the eCommerce, the multimedia, and stuff like that, I started to expand to other teams. Initially I came in working with online marketing and that was initially what they thought I could do. Then I kind of became a hybrid of working with IT because of the actual programming stuff that I knew how to do as well.

    The real kind of pivot came when social media really took off on the scene. TD Jakes Ministries, when I got there, they weren’t really using social media in that manner and this is 2010. So, when I started showing them some solutions and developing some strategies for them to help utilize social media on a whole other level—mainly Facebook and Twitter at that time—then they really let me just go ahead and run with it. Basically kind of probably to keep me quiet.

    But, the thing that happened that was phenomenal was social media took off; it exploded. When I got there they probably had 2000 people just off of the name of the pastor, Bishop Jakes. Within two years we increased that to a million.

    The iChuch Method at ACU Summitt

    generic-powerpoint-2013 In the middle of Texas there's a small city called Abilene. In Abilene is one of the most advanced Christian universities called Abilene Christian university. Prior to stepping foot on campus december 2012, I had never heard of the school but I am glad that I was invited back then as well as Sept 16 - 18, 2013 for the 107th ACU Summit. In December 2012, I was invited by Prof. John Weaver to come record a set of interviews and teachings about my thoughts on Church and Technology. Here are the interviews.

    It was a great opportunity for me because not only was I called in to be a guest speaker but also Prof. Weaver used The iChurch Method books in his course. This marked the second university (Biola University was the first) that used The iChurch Method as a training manual.

    At the end of my visit, I was informed about an annual conference ACU has where numerous people from around the country gather to discuss how to better conduct ministry as well as learn from the brightest in the kingdom. I was also invited to teach The iChurch Method at this conference since it was one of the first methods for the church that focused on the technical aspects of doing ministry online.

    Therefore, if you are able, join me Sept 16 - 18, 2013 at Abilene Christian University where I will be teaching The iChurch Method for 3 days from 4:00 - 4:45pm as well as selling and signing The iChurch Method and How to Get One Million Social Media Fans books.

    Join me at 2013 MegaFest

    webbanner+jasoncaston Seven years ago I was enjoying living in my hometown of Chicago and getting acclimated to married life as I had only been married for a little over a year. I was job hopping between various web developer positions in downtown Chicago as I made my way through over 25 corporate positions prior to coming to work for churches mid 2007. My wife and I were very involved in our local church at that time and we would often watch many pastors on TV such as T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar and Bill Winston. While watching T.D. Jakes back then we saw that he was putting on this great MegaFest conference in Atlanta and there were things to do for the whole family, we both thought it would be amazing to attend but due to our limited budget, we knew we couldn’t attend.

    Fast forward to 2013 and there are a variety of changes that make the 2013 MegaFest not only a viable option for us, but I am helping make it a success in a variety of ways. We have moved from Chicago to Dallas with a short 2.5 year stop in Orange County, CA, therefore we are in the same city as this year’s MegaFest conference. I am not only a speaker at the conference (on technology) for the Mega-Youth Experience but I am also employed by the ministry as an Internet Church specialist. This allows me to help in the creation of the Mobile Apps, Mobile Website, Desktop Website, Social Media and Online Streaming.

    I can’t say how excited I am to participate in this conference and to really reflect on how far God has brought me and my family. We will all be at MegaFest enjoying the numerous events such as Woman Thou Are Loosed, ManPower, MegaKidz, Mega-Youth Experience, Just Churchin Comedy Show, BallUp Basketball showcase, McDonalds Gospel Concert, Oprah’s LifeClass, The Faith and Family Film Festival and much much more! So if you get a chance to come to MegaFest, let me know and let’s connect offline like we do online!


    How to Advance Your Ministry Online

    urlThe world is rapidly changing, and in order to keep up, and minister effectively to your congregation, you need to take advantage of the latest technology that your parishioners are using to stay connected with friends and family, do business, and take care of their personal and spiritual needs. This can be a confusing set of circumstances to navigate, with all kinds of media sites and technology out there clamoring to be utilized, all claiming to be the best way of reaching your current and potential congregation. How do you proceed? Here is a rough, abbreviated breakdown of the technology that is available to you to help you reach and expand your congregation.

    Your Website If you don't already have a website, why not? Printed phone books and encyclopedias are nearly obsolete, as the internet makes information so much more easily accessed, from finding local vendors to answering your children's homework questions. If your church does not already have a website, it should. And if it does, it should be updated frequently with fresh, informative content to keep parishioners checking back regularly to see what's new.

    Multimedia - Interactive Multimedia Your church building may only hold 100, 200, or 500 members, but your virtual church can reach millions, through the power of media. Do you have a pastor who is a particularly powerful speaker, someone people wait all week to hear? Videotape the sermons and make them available online. You can post them on your website, your Facebook page, YouTube and more, to attract more members to your church, or increase your revenue by offering them for sale, via CD, DVD or audio or video download from your online store, which brings us to…

    eCommerce Take donations online, sell recordings of sermons and motivational lectures, allow parishioners to purchase tickets to special events and more with an eCommerce site.

    Social Media Harness the power of the most interactive technology the world has ever known by leveraging social media to get your message out to more people than your predecessors could have ever dreamed of. With the right message, or a captivating photo, video clip or other post, your church can go viral, and expand far beyond the reach of its physical walls.

    Mobile Technology Almost everyone seems to have a smart phone these days, and they're always surfing the net. If they're looking for spiritual guidance, be the one to give it to them with a mobile-optimized website. What difference does it make? Imagine seeing your current website on a 2-inch square screen and you'll understand. A mobile optimized site shows your visitors what you think is important, and lets them browse through the rest of the site at their leisure.

    In summary, as bewildering as it may seem at first, the newest technology that is overwhelming us with its rapidly evolving applications is a powerful tool for churches to reach out to members and potential members in a way never before possible. It's a brave new electronic world out there. Make sure you're a part of it.

    For more information on this and other topics, get your copy of "The iChurch Method Volume 1: How to Advance Your Ministry Online." or The iChurch Method Volume 2: Changing the World When You Login or even sign up for the iChurch Method Online School.

    Why Does My Ministry Need a YouTube Account?

    youtube-for-android-lets-you-watch-videos-mostly-offline-updated--8bb4ae8a43People love videos, and if a picture can paint a thousand words, just think about what kind of message you can get across with even a short video. YouTube is the most popular site on the whole Internet for people to share videos of all kinds, and many of these videos are viewed by hundreds of thousands or even millions of viewers. In fact, YouTube has some 490 million registered users, and many more who simply view videos without registering. YouTube makes posting videos on your website quick and easy, without taking up a lot of space or needing extra time to load. You simply post the actual video on YouTube, and then put the HTML code that YouTube provides you to embed the video right into your website. The video shows up on your site just as if it were actually there, but when the viewer plays it, they're actually accessing it through YouTube.

    When you create a YouTube account, you not only get the privilege of posting videos, but you can actually establish a presence for your church on YouTube by creating your own channel, where parishioners can find all of your videos in one place. It's a great way to set up an archive without having to use up space on your own site.

    Create Your Own "Sound Bytes" Consider videotaping whole sermons and then editing them to three to five minute clips, highlighting the most powerful parts. Then you can post the "sound bytes" on YouTube, embedding them in your site, and post a link to where the viewer can either download the whole sermon, or purchase it from your Web store. What great advertising!

    Not only will you get business from the viewers who come to your site, but from potentially thousands more who stumble across your videos on YouTube. And every video you post increases your Web presence, much as the size of your website can improve your listings on Google searches. You Tube is actually the second largest search engine behind, and is owned by Google, Inc.

    You don't have to only post sermons, either. Consider editing together videos from various events, like picnics and bazaars and church outings. Make sure to highlight the most exciting parts, and perhaps even put them to music. You can use these kinds of videos to attract young people to your church who are looking for fun things to do on weekends. Video is your way of presenting the best parts of your church to the world, and YouTube is the conduit.

    For more information on this and other topics, get your copy of "The iChurch Method Volume 1: How to Advance Your Ministry Online." or The iChurch Method Volume 2: Changing the World When You Login or even sign up for the iChurch Method Online School.

    Google+ Hangouts on Air for ministry

    google-hangouts-featureRegardless of how you feel about Google+ and it’s impact (or lack thereof) on social media, there is one major feature that has captured the attention of Google+ fanatics and everyone else, that feature is Google Hangouts on Air. Google hangouts are an enhanced version of video chat with up to 10 people simultaneously participating in a video chat. The add on features such as integrating YouTube videos, Google docs or screen sharing have only made Google hangouts even more attractive to people. When thinking about Google+ hangouts the closest comparison is Skype and it’s easy to use video chat features. Unlike Skype, Google+ hangouts have the capability to be broadcast live via YouTube to an unlimited number of people, this feature alone makes Google+ an amazing tool for webinars and online broadcasts. Another great benefit is the seamless mobile device integration so that whether a participant is on a laptop, desktop or mobile device, they can participate in the Google+ Hangout.

    The question is how can Google+ hangouts be used for churches, well i’m glad you asked. Here are 5 ways to use Google Hangouts on Air for Church:

    Stream your sermons or bible study live and record it on YouTube. This feature is built into Google+ Hangouts on Air, it’s a great showcase of how Google is merging all of their properties to work together.

    Have an interactive Bible Study or Ministry meetings that can also be recorded for record keeping purposes. Similar to the example above, you can have a pastor or church leader lead a meeting/bible study and broadcast it via Google+ Hangouts on Air and YouTube. If you like you can have up to 10 people who can actually interact with the pastor during this broadcast in addition to watching.

    Have interactive Counseling sessions. This option may not need to broadcast or recorded but if the pastor or counselor is at the church and the person(s) needing counseling are somewhere else, they can conduct an online counseling session using Google+ hangouts.

    Broadcast special events such as conference previews, webinars and online trainings. This is a great marketing option for people to participate in online. A good example is where a pastor can call on a few of his colleagues and they talk about a theological topic or an upcoming conference they are participating in. This online event can be broadcast live using Google+ hangouts and YouTube, then recorded as well. The MP4 file that YouTube creates can then be downloaded or shared on other social networks such as Google+, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

    Podcasts done quickly and easily. Similar to the option above, with the MP4 file that is created from a Google+ hangout and YouTube, it can be uploaded to iTunes as a podcast and distributed in that manner. Even if you want to do a broadcast by yourself, you can record yourself using Google+ hangouts and take the MP4 file that will be created on YouTube and distribute it as a podcast.

    Overall, Google+ Hangouts on Air along with YouTube have a great opportunity to become a great online tool. I cannot explain how much fun I think Google+ Hangouts on Air are and how much impact they could have in changing how online training, communication and videos are done.

    Add a Google +1 Button to Your Website

    urlIf your church has a comprehensive website, you are no doubt by now familiar with a variety of ways of optimizing your site, letting visitors "like" the site for their friends on Facebook and Twitter and more. You may not yet, however, be familiar with the new Google +1 button. The Google +1 button is a button you can place on your site, similar to a Facebook Like button, whereby visitors can click on it to recommend your content on Google Search and share it on Google Plus. A number appears next to the +1 to denote the number of users who have clicked on it so far. When a user clicks the +1, a message goes out to all of their friends on Google Plus that he or she is recommending your site.

    Google Search Page Rankings This new button could be a complete game changer when it comes to Google rankings, as well. Experts are still attempting to determine the effect that a high Google +1 number will have on a page's overall search ranking. One thing is certain; it will definitely increase the ranking of your page for the members' friends when they do a Google search.

    In other words, when a visitor clicks on the +1 button on your site, it will raise your page's search ranking for any of that's visitor's friends whenever they conduct a search of a relevant topic.

    Consider if you were to look for a movie review. A review written by a critic may or may not be helpful, but if you could read a review written by one of your friends, it would probably be of more interest. Google will naturally guide you to any of your friends' recommendations first whenever you conduct a search.

    Google +1 buttons will also show up next to your search results on search pages, allowing viewers to see which of their friends is recommending your site. While this is fairly new technology and the jury is still out as to how much of an effect this will have, Google +1 is still another way to increase your visibility on the Web so that more people can find you.

    For more information on this and other topics, get your copy of "The iChurch Method Volume 1: How to Advance Your Ministry Online." or The iChurch Method Volume 2: Changing the World When You Login or even sign up for the iChurch Method Online School.

    Quick Way to Setup Online Donations

    paypal4There are quite a few online donation options out there such as,,, and more, but the quickest and easiest option to implement in my opinion is Paypal. Many people use PayPal the world over in order to pay for goods and services, particularly on electronic swap meet sites such as eBay. PayPal notifies the seller when the money has been transferred, so that the seller can then send the item to the purchaser. This is particularly convenient for sellers who don't wish to deal with the hassle and charges involved in using Visa or MasterCard, since most eBay sellers are private individuals.

    PayPal also accepts money from credit cards, allowing people who do not have or do not wish to set up a PayPal account to pay for goods and services, or in this case, make charitable donations online. With such an easy method of making donations, your members will be much more likely to contribute than if they actually had to sit down and write a check and put it in the mail.

    PayPal will allow you to set up a free donation module on your website, whereby visitors can make donations using their PayPal account or credit card. You will still have to pay any fees required for the credit card transactions by the respective credit card companies, however.

    Get Started by Setting up a PayPal Account

    The first thing you will need to do is set up a PayPal for Business and Nonprofits account. Start with a Standard account, which is free, and provide all of your organization's information. Once your account is ready, you can set up your donations by clicking on the Merchant Services tab, and in the Create Buttons section selecting Donate in order to create a Donate link for your site.

    Follow the directions to customize the look and text of your Donate button, and then select the option to save the button on PayPal in case you need it again for another site. Answer some more questions, then click Create Button. PayPal will provide you some HTML code that you can then copy and paste into your website, wherever you would like the Donate button to appear.

    Whenever a user clicks the Donate button on your website, he or she will be taken to PayPal where they can provide credit card information or else use their PayPal account to donate money to your organization. It's a simple as that, and it doesn't even cost anything, except for the credit card fees!

    For more information on this and other topics, get your copy of "The iChurch Method Volume 1: How to Advance Your Ministry Online." or The iChurch Method Volume 2: Changing the World When You Login or even sign up for the iChurch Method Online School.

    The iChurch Method TV - Ep 11 - Churches and their Understanding of Technology The church as a whole, I’d say maybe there are about 5% of churches that really have a good grasp of technology. They have the resources to actually utilize a lot of the new things that are going on out there, but 95% of the churches I see out here just don’t have the resources. They know what they want to do but they don’t have the resources and the expertise to actually implement it so they might have a volunteer come in and do the website; someone that really has a good heart but just doesn’t have the knowhow to make it look as effective as it could be. Or they may hire somebody that doesn’t have the integrity that the people in the church have. If they don’t have that integrity then they might just take them for their money and not give them a high-quality website.

    So, in seeing those types of situations I started to realize what they needed was someone they could trust and someone that also has the expertise to allow them to take advantage of the technology that we have out here because it changes rapidly.

    Content Strategy They are somewhat aware. They understand that they want something that’s innovative; they want the neat, shiny, new thing on the block. They also understand that they want a content management system; something that they can still work with once the website is done and handed off to them from the developer. So, they understand that part of it.

    What they don’t understand is just the expertise that it takes to actually develop that. They might not understand that the stuff they see that’s easy for them to use on the website might take weeks or months to develop; they don’t understand that part.

    They’re starting to understand that the key buzzword is social media. So, when they see a new website they always want to know where’s the social media aspect of that, but then they may not think about the other aspects that you need in a website which would be the eCommerce aspect with online donations, online stores, the stuff that people look for when they come to the website. They want to know contact information, locations, service times, those basic things about the ministry. Those basic things need to be looked at before we even get to the new shiny, touchy-feely website. We need to look at a content strategy.

    The hardest part that I’ve seen with ministries is not the website; they know they need a website because they see a whole bunch of churches with one, but they have a hard time figuring out how to get the content from the pastor or from the leadership and onto the website and onto the social media in an effective streamlined manner.

    What was going through my mind was looking at these five aspects that I had, each chapter to me was something I actually would do in a typical week at work. In a typical week I work on the websites and multimedia, eCommerce, social media, and mobile, so when I’m putting this book together I’m thinking, “What is it that I do that people would need to know from the most basic level all the way up to the most technologically advanced level?” I want to make sure if we have a pastor who’s not as technically savvy, he can look at the book and understand, and have a conversation and hand it off to someone who is technologically savvy.

    But, what if the technologically savvy person picks up the book? I want to make sure this book challenges them as well and gives them new ideas and strategies so that they can utilize them within their ministry.

    For more information on this and other topics, get your copy of “The iChurch Method Volume 1: How to Advance Your Ministry Online.” or The iChurch Method Volume 2: Changing the World When You Login or even sign up for the iChurch Method Online School.

    The iChurch Method TV - Ep. 9 - How to Become an International Ministry

    Continuing The iChurch Method TV series, here is the transcript from the video above.

    You become an international ministry as soon as we flick the switch on your website, as soon as you set up the Facebook fan page, as soon as you set up your Twitter account. What ministries don’t realize is they may have, we’ll say 100, a couple hundred, or a couple thousand people that will come into their sanctuary. But, if you get one person that tunes in to your ministry, your website, your online stream, from India, from Europe, from Africa, that makes you an international ministry. Had you not utilized those technological tools, that person would not have been receiving the ministry from your church.

    That’s the thing that ministries have to understand; as soon as you give people a way to connect with your ministry that are not in your regional or national area then you become an international ministry. Just those simple steps of setting up your website or setting up your social media channels, that makes you become an international ministry.

    [You] have to realize that initially we start off and we only think in the box that we’re in. We think about only having our services in English. We think everybody is watching the service at the same time we would watch it, or we think people are connecting with the ministry at the same time we’re connecting with the ministry. A typical example would be a ministry might have office hours from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Well, international time that may be midnight to 8:00 a.m., so they’re not connecting with your ministry at that time. They’re connecting with the ministry at the hours that they would like to.

    So, when you have social media then you have to look at the fact that people want to connect with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So, you just have to basically evolve your strategy to accommodate ministry at hours outside of what you’re used to, at times outside of what you’re used to, and in languages outside of what you’re used to.

    Church Documents You Should Post on Your Website

    urlPosting documents on your church website is relatively easy and doesn't cost anything, beyond the time and effort required to create them. You can create documents in any kind of software such as Microsoft Word and convert them to an Adobe PDF (Portable Document Format) file, which you can place on your server for linking to your site. You can generate directories, brochures, committee reports, meeting minutes or any other sort of document that you might otherwise provide in printed form, and allow members to print them out directly from your site. This will save quite a lot of money in printing costs as well as creating an added convenience for your parishioners.

    Some documents you might consider making available on your church website are:

    • Your church newsletter. Create it in Word, convert it to PDF, and you can email it to everyone who has subscribed, and then make it available in a Newsletter Archives page on your site; • Digital magazines are similar to newsletters, but tend to focus on a broader topic rather than specific church events; • E-books can be made available for download as PDFs, either for free or for a price via your Web store. This is particularly useful if your pastor has written a book that is already available as an e-book download through Amazon or some other site; you can also sell it in PDF format directly from your site; • Information about the various missionaries your church supports. You can provide biographical information, where they are working, contact information if appropriate, and use this information to get church members to pray for them and their success; • Committee reports, meeting minutes and any other sort of formal or informal notational material regarding church committees and working groups. This ensures that everyone feels connected to the work that the church is doing, and stays informed of current plans and goals; • Important contact information, for outreach centers, crisis hotline numbers, volunteer centers and such; • Forms, such as registration, sign-up sheets, and anything else you prefer the user fill out and physically return to the church rather than filling them in online.

    Documents are the easiest of all the media to post on your website, with no added expense or hosting requirements.

    For more information on this and other topics, get your copy of "The iChurch Method Volume 1: How to Advance Your Ministry Online." or The iChurch Method Volume 2: Changing the World When You Login or even sign up for the iChurch Method Online School.

    The iChurch Method TV - Ep. 8 - How to take a sermon and distribute it as digital content

    Continuing my series on The iChurch Method and how it works, in this segment I speak on How to take a sermon and distribute it as digital content. Here is the transcript:

    First thing I’m asking is if we have a way to get it recorded on video, because from video we can get video and audio. If we can then we try and look at that approach. But, say for instance we just can’t, then we look at taking that audio message and we’ll still let people tune in to it and archive it and watch it. We’ll create a page where they can listen to it during the week and we’ll also put a link right underneath so they can download it for a fee. We’ll also distribute that via podcast. If we start, say, putting a bumper on the front and end of it letting people know to come to the website or come visit the ministry then we can start distributing that content to a variety of outlets as opposed to just waiting for people to come to the website.

    It’s good that people are coming to the website and they’re listening to the sermon but we also want to make sure we’re taking that ministry to the people and getting it out to the masses.